When I first saw the 1993 film Indian Summer, I was still a regular camper at a summer camp so my perspective on the film about a group of former campers who spend one last summer at Camp Tamakwa (the real name of the camp where the movie was filmed) was a little different than my mom, who rented the movie and insisted I watch it with her. I enjoyed it, but wasn’t quite as nostalgic and teary-eyed as my mom, a long-time camper in South Dakota growing up.
Re-watching the movie just recently more than 15 years later, I was the teary-eyed nostalgic one, as you might expect considering I run a blog called Summer Camp Culture. While I’d like to think my style is a little less early ’90s than the 20somethings returning to camp in this film, I’m not all that different than them reliving and reminiscing about my days as a camper every time I step onto the grounds of a camp.
The film stars Alan Arkin as an aging camp director who feels he’s losing touch with the early ’90s generation of campers – crazy kids with their Walkmans – and decides he’s going to close the camp. But before he does, he invites back some of the campers from the ’70s – the golden age of the camp – with whom he wants to spend his last week as a camp director. The concept is a little suspect – of all the campers he could invite why this certain number of campers from this certain year? – but once you get beyond that, the film is a fun trip down memory lane that despite being somewhat dated 18 years later captures the essence of what summer camp is all about. Not to mention what having a blog like this is really all about.